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Japan-Update

Panasonic to bolster housing component business in India

Electronics giant aiming for $779m in sales by fiscal 2020

OSAKA -- Panasonic plans to bolster its housing component business in India, in an effort to more than doubling sales between fiscal 2016 and fiscal 2020 to 85 billion yen ($779 million), through modular kitchens and other offerings.

The company will start offering modular kitchens in India in fiscal 2018. It will set up more showrooms for its products in hopes of appealing to local homebuilders and contractors.

Panasonic considers India a strategic market, and is developing more products through its local unit. It will strengthen its housing component business there through Anchor Electricals, India's largest outlet and switch maker -- acquired back in 2007. Anchor has ties to roughly 3,600 distributors, and offers products at a wide range of price points.

India helped increase transparency in the market with tax reforms in July, allowing Panasonic to compete better with local rivals selling cheaper goods. The Japanese company now aims to control at least half the Indian market in fiscal 2020. It is also looking to boost exports from India to elsewhere, and began shipping products designed for Kenya and other African markets from the country in October.

Panasonic also wants to more than quadruple its sales of lighting. It exited the fluorescent light market in 2016, focusing its efforts on energy-saving light-emitting diodes. It now plans to develop more products that fit local demands and sell the bulbs through its sales network for wiring tools. The company also would like to boost sales of solar power-related products.

Though Panasonic commands a large share of the housing component business in Japan, it has struggled to take that success overseas. It intends to increase the share of overseas sales in the business to 25% by fiscal 2020, such as through further inroads in India.

(Nikkei)

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